Source: Public Library
Sometimes you read a book. While reading you realize your life will never be the same. This was one of those books for me.
Can we be honest for a second, how often do you think about aging? How often do you think about your own aging?
Gawande talks about the things we don’t often talk about. Are Nursing Homes really nursing our loved ones back to health (as they were originally designed to do) Are Assisted Living Facilities really assisting with the living? Are they helping our loved ones live or are they just helping them get their meds on time? Gawande pulls from his experience as a doctor and his experience as his father was dying to give us and all sides picture of how things might be. Sometimes doctors do everything they can to get rid of the ailment, and patients want to just get back to normal. But what do you do and say when a patient is going to die soon and sometimes the treatment will leave them as bad off as the disease itself?
One chapter that was highly informative for me was Gawande’s take on hospice. Hospice is not just there because you are dying. Hospice is there to make your life the best it can be as you are dying. Many people didn’t use hospice service because it was sort of like giving up. But in the last few years according to studies more and more people have started using it. Gawande points out that this saves lots of money because people aren’t signing up for the $200,000 procedures that tend to not work at that stage. He points out that often after 2 rounds of Chemo patients show little if any improvement after the 3rd round. Often the 3rd round takes their system down and speeds up the dying process.
I highly recommend this book for everyone. We do not have the hard discussions about dying, what we want most in life as we are dying, and how we want to be treated as we die. We tend to just try to keep people living, and don’t always take the time to find out what they really want.
So if you are looking for a happy read. This is not it. If you are looking for something to ease your mind about dying. This is not it. If you are looking for real suggestions for real problems then this book might be just what the Doctor ordered.